On Vietnam, cams and uninstalling Instagram.Posted: May 2, 2012
It’s been a while since a photo taken with an “proper” camera appeared on this blog, which is a shame really because looking back I’m quite proud of a few of them.
But since I bought a smart phone with a half decent in-built cam I’ve felt less like actually lugging anything else around with me. There’s more to it than that though. Living in Hanoi there’s only so many five-on-a-bike, conical hatted ladies and pho stand pics you can take.
I began to equate carrying a camera, not so much with being a tourist but very definitely being an outsider. That’s not to say that I’m kidding myself that I’m still anything but, however it’s not a fact I want to hammer home.
I also got a little tired of that expat hey we’re all djs, journalists, filmmakers, photographers and multimedia artistes thing. I’m not a photographer and there are too many good ones (and many many bad ones I’d rather not be bracketed with) for me to claim otherwise.
So that leaves me with the smart phone cam which would be all well and good except Instagram. Back when it was an Apple thing, (I’m an Android man but I prefer an Apple laptop – it’s complicated), I inwardly mocked it as hipster crap. But, keen to have a play, I downloaded when it became available and now I’m irritatingly hooked.
And now I dislike it more than ever.
I dislike the retro filters that can be applied to everything. I hate the whole concept of everything looking like your mum and dad’s polaroids. Why must everything be retro? Even in place where 1977, as one filter is called, wasn’t so much fun.
There’s something very wrong with capturing memories with a computer generated rosy glow and a designed-in fade. This process used to happen in our heads, then it happened on photographic paper – now we’re cynical enough to digitise it.
Beyond that I hate the all consuming me-tooness of it that was irritating when it was just Apple but now with Android it’s hit a please-God-make-it-stop critical mass.
But I know that when I’m thinking enough with the Instagram, I’m talking to myself as much as everyone else.
Without Instagram, my phone pics have an even more obvious lack of sharpness and their washed out colours appear even more bland. It’s like when I used to make mixtapes on a deck with an ultra-fast setting. Afterwards songs played at natural speed seemed lifeless and turgid.
So far though I haven’t been able to stop using Instagram. I dabbled. I was hooked.
But consider this as notice, I’m going cold turkey.
The pic above of national holiday everyone’s-gone-to-country Hanoi is very definitely my last.
I’m uninstalling the app.